How much does a baby cost? 2023–2024 Edition

I’m currently spending about $360/mo on TTC (near-weekly acupuncture, expensive supplements, Fertility Friend app, TempDrop app, various sticks to pee on, special lube).

If making a baby the old-fashioned way doesn’t work by October or so, I plan to buy donor eggs and do it the science way. I’m not counting the savings toward that process in my monthly tally because even after I’m pregnant, I still hope to save at a similar rate, just change the goal to a down payment.

What I want to know is this: does the average baby cost $360/mo to keep alive in the first year after startup costs? More? Less?

I feel like startup costs will probably not be too terribly bad because if I get a baby, people will give me many things because they know of my 3-year struggle. So I’m just wondering, if/when I am successful, can the budget category can be pretty much the same amount for the first 18 months?

On a monthly basis, what do infants cost to insure?
To feed healthy foods once they can eat them?
To clothe?
To diaper?
To laundromat? (there is one just 2 blocks from me)
To apply first aid upon?
To entertain?

I plan to try to breastfeed and cloth diaper. I imagine I’ll probably get a lot of clothes and toys as gifts, so maybe little/no need to budget much for that?

For the first at least year, we would stay in our one-bedroom apartment with the crib in the corner of the bedroom, and at some point before 18 months are probably doing a cross-country move. So I’m only trying to plan for the first year, budget-wise.


So Kirkland diapers are currently like $35 a box for size 1, come with 192 diapers, newborns use 10-12 diapers per day, month one is $70 in diaper plus (?? Im bad at estimating wipe use- im way more efficient than my husband) in wipes.

When Latte started solids it increased gradually as she ate more foods but by 12 months she added a solid 50% to our grocery budget and has stayed there. You can do cheaper- she loves berries but I could just not get them as often- but just giving my frame of ref there.

Formula is obviously spendy esp if you need allergen friendly stuff, but breast feeding isn’t free either- you’ll need to eat more and your own groceries will go up.

And of course daycare isn’t going to run you $300 a month, so care situations impact cost hugely.

I would say with me as a SAHM, not doing formula, lots of hand me downs but also some boujie toy preferences and convenience purchases, Latte probably averaged $400-500/mon for us her first couple years, maybe $600-700 with food. It’s so hard to tease out because our own eating habits changed as hers did.

Now she’s in 3 morning a week preschool and one a week gymnastics and those alone add like $500 a month.


Sorry I just saw the cloth diaper part. That is SO dependent on where you get them and what you use. Used, hand me down, new, what types, etc. Bestie had to give up on cloth when she didn’t have in unit laundry because she had to double wash everything and you have to do so so much laundry with diapers, it ended up cheaper for her to do disposables by a mile :confused:


Our biggest expenses are (in this order):
Healthcare (adding child to health insurance)
Everything else combined

We probably spent ~$100/month on diapers and wipes, but we weren’t trying to save money there. We also don’t do Costco because it requires 4 different freeways to get to our nearest one.

If you don’t have in unit laundry, a bunch of my coworkers swear by Dydee Diaper service for cloth diapering. You may want to check their cost.


Oh gosh yes how did I forget this. $450 extra per month.

ETA plus she had a lot of appointments her first year with an $80 specialist copay each time, and then the blood draws were like $150 each and we needed those weekly for a while then monthly for another year.


It’s $450 a month to add a baby to insurance?! :scream: Howwwww?

We’re planning not to have childcare really, since I work a set schedule of days and Swan works more flexible evenings already. As the more enthusiastic baby aficionado in our house, he’s going to be the main caregiver, and I’ll be either WFH in my garage office that’s in a different building, or maybe offsite sometimes. And then since he usually works late on Fri/Sat night, I’ll do morning care on weekends. When we need babysitting, we actually have good options, since Swan’s brother and his gf live in the front house, and I have at least one other friend within three miles who has told me a million times that she’s excited to babysit one day.

I guess I’ll have to think more about cloth diapering. The services around here (I just skimmed some pages) seem to cost about $150/month. If laundromat is really that daunting and services that expensive, maybe disposables at $70/mo would be the way to go after all. (There is a Costco nearby, though I’ve never actually been!)


Rough exhausted math says yes. Without daycare. And that toddlers are more. No wonder we are broke. Obviously you can go cheaper. But will you?

Diapers - $200 outlay, $200 restock, $20/month for night disposables, wipes and liners
Laundry - $3 diaper loads a week added ($12? Pricing is 2019)
Breastfeeding - $60 month one trouble shooting, $50/month special diet
Convenience food - $120/month
Random stuff - $20 pacifiers, bottles, spoons, bowls
Baby food - $10 prebought, 30-60 extra ingredients
Clothes -$25 is super low
Medical - $10 with universal healthcare

First baby - cloth diapers, a mix of diaper service gift from loved people and hand me down stash - but each baby is different and I bought some new covers, and then shape changed more and more new covers and then found a cheap style of pocket that worked.

Basement apartment building laundry worked with diapers for a baby in a way it wouldn’t have by maybe 12 months ( I moved at 8 months I think). Start the diaper load, go down in 40 minutes, add clothes, do the next load. Obviously some people handwash, but as far as I can tell they are in extreme poverty.

Clothes I have had to buy most new. I do ten of most things, but those are easy to handwash

Babywearing - I was given some stuff I bought some

Stroller - $200 premium used

Both times I have had to alter my diet to breastfeed


I just posted on cloth! It isn’t bad!

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I did as well and that’s a good point- dairy alternatives aren’t cheap. Even with avoiding cheese subs and minimizing yogurt subs, butter sub alone since I can’t do soy and the chocolate added up.


Absent daycare:

It was about $200/mo to add her to my insurance, but after she was born, I lowered my insurance level at the next open enrollment, so that dropped it to about $100 difference between just me silver vs both of us bronze.

Gear overall was probably $500 total between some new deals, some used, some free, but if that’s part of startup, then I paid for older baby gear by selling younger baby gear (ex. sell bassinet and buy used jumperoo for the same price)

Otherwise the ongoing baby budget including diapers/wipes and 100% formula was $150/mo, maybe a generous $200/mo to include toys and eating food.


There’s definitely a nonzero chance there will be dairy issues because Swan has them, and even if I’m swapping out my genes for a rando’s, his will still be in the picture. But I mostly already sub dairy except for cheese. My daily butter and milk are both vegan, and I haven’t been wanting ice cream or yogurt lately, and it’s super rare that I buy sour cream, though I do like it.

If I have to give up soy on the other hand, I am in trouble! Though I did it while on the AIP diet pre-second-retrieval. But, as a pescetarian, I rely heavily on tempeh, tofu, soy sauce, and various fake meats for variety in my normal diet. When I was on AIP I got sooooo tired of fish! (I couldn’t even have beans on that diet.)

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The most common “your baby has reflux or weight issues” eliminations are soy and dairy- MSPI is what you see talked about a lot (milk soy protein intolerance). Idk rates of babies having both versus them both being the most common? For me I personally don’t tolerate unfermented soy, so it was just me tightening up my fermented soy sources.


It’s good to hear that there’s a possibility of insurance being on the lower end! I’m already nervous about what happens with insurance when Swan and I get married and then I change full-time jobs a few months later. On his own income, he’s eligible for the free state insurance, but that goes out the window once we’re married, though I think they’re not going to check again for almost another year. But when I looked at adding him to my existing plan it was like $300-something! I’ve been super spoiled with my cheap, employer-subsidized plan for just me all these years. I think they take like $60/mo out of my paycheck.

When changing my family structure to the one I want, I think I’m just gonna have to hold my nose, cannonball in, and see where things fall at that point.


Yeah to be clear we were on my husbands work insurance, had two options, and they both sucked :sweat_smile: a lot.


Even with as much planning as possible that’s what we have to do I think. There’s just so much you can’t know.

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Yeah, what’s the worst that could happen? We’ll survive no matter what. If my parents could raise me as a baby on rice and hotdogs in the 1980s by delivering pizzas without high school diplomas, and I turned out mostly healthy and pretty smart, I’m sure I can pull it off with two master’s degrees. :stuck_out_tongue:


To sum up, I’m hearing what sounds like somewhere between $400–$1000/mo, depending on healthcare price and our particular challenges. That is good enough to know. It sounds like we’ll have to adjust our savings goals a bit, but that is to be expected, and then hopefully once imaginary baby starts to even get more expensive, we’ll already be in our own house and having to save less aggressively for housing.


I tracked all baby related expenses really closely for the first year or two, including parking costs at the doctor :stuck_out_tongue:. I will pull it out of YNAB tomorrow and let you know.

I spend $300-500/month for my toddler (not including daycare or healthcare) but it definitely could be lower if I had more restraint lol. Also, I’m rich so I try to pay it forward by gifting most supplies/toys/clothes that are outgrown and not taking bundles of clothes on buy nothing but I could definitely sell some things and re-coop costs or get more for free.


This is absolutely true here, too :joy: did I need to replace the toy shelf? No, but I thought about it for over 2 years so I finally did it. Would have been fine not to, though. And so on. She definitely didn’t need that one $35 bug science hoodie but it was so cute :pleading_face::pleading_face::pleading_face:


Babies cost a million dollars or $4.99 or pretty much anything in between, depending on what you have available to spend. LOL

I was a sahm, so no daycare. A friend and I split the cost of cloth diapers (her oldest and only was 6 months older than my oldest.) I nursed, and then I mashed up some food and bought a box of cheerios as she got older.

We lived in the same one bedroom apartment until she was 4. My parents bought a crib, we bought a stroller and a car seat. I did buy some baby clothes at the thrift store, and I sewed some stuff, and people gave us stuff.

It really didn’t cost much, which was a good thing. LOL